Canada's iconoclastic "queer' filmmaker John Greyson has teamed up with his South African equivalent Jack Lewis, a gay activist and filmmaker, on the $550,000 gay and historical feature film Proteus which has just begun its third week of shooting in and around Cape Town.
The Canadian/South African co-production is produced by Cape Town-based Big World Cinema's Steven Markovitz and Platon Trakoshis and Toronto-based producer Anita Lee. Based on a court record from 1735 giving judgement in the case of two Robben Island prisoners, Dutch sailor Rijkhaart Jacobsz and Khoi convict Class Blank who received extreme sentences for what the court called 'the abominable and unnatural crime of Sodomy'.
Proteus is an official South Africa/Canada co-production, with financing from South Africa's National Film & Video Foundation, Telefilm Canada and several Canadian broadcasters. Markovitz says the film examines cross-cultural and racial taboos and points to the homophobia that still exists today in the gap between South Africa's tolerant Constitution and the prejudice inherent in human attitudes. It is also a love story, exploring the deep bond that formed between two men in their decade-long relationship.
The film features five languages- English, Afrikaans, Dutch, Nama and Latin, and stars Neil Sandilands, Rouxnet Brown, Canadian actor Shaun Smyth, and Kristen Thomson and is photographed by South Africa's 'hot' cameraman Giulio Biccari.